Learn first, practice second approach to increase health professionals’ nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes and self-efficacy

Madison E. Santella, Rebecca L. Hagedorn, Rachel A. Wattick, Makenzie L. Barr, Tanya M. Horacek, Melissa D. Olfert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Health professionals generally have positive attitudes towards the role of nutrition in medicine, but limited knowledge and low self-efficacy for incorporating it into routine care. To assess the effectiveness of a “learn first, practice second” intervention on the nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy of multidisciplinary health professionals, the present approach consisted of 16 weeks of online education and 2 weeks of cultural immersion in Tuscany, Italy. Data was captured via online surveys at Baseline, Post-education, Post-immersion, and Follow Up. Repeated measures ANOVA with irregular spacing was used, followed by Dunnett’s or Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel testing. Results indicate significantly improved participant nutrition knowledge (nonzero correlation p =.0136, means score p =.0075) and self-efficacy (T0-T1 p <.0001, T0-T2 p <.0001, T0-T3 p =.0002), with differences in attitude trending towards significance (p =.0764). Findings from this study suggest that a combination of online education and hands on learning experiences can be beneficial for increasing health professionals’ nutrition knowledge, confidence, and potentially attitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-377
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Partial funding for materials used for abroad data collection through WVU General International Grant. RLH was supported by National Institute of General Medical Sciences T32 grant (GM081741). Additional support by the West Virginia Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (WVA00689 and WVA00721) and West Virginia University Office of Global Affairs. The authors thank the WVU Office of Global Affairs for help in making this study possible, and all hosts while abroad for their kindness and hospitality. Additionally, the authors would like to thank the participants for taking the time to participate in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Mediterranean Diet
  • attitude
  • experiential learning
  • nutrition education
  • self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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